HAMMOND | With a bit more than 10 minutes remaining in Monday's game and his team up 19, Calumet College junior Brian Brilmyer banked home an ugly 3-pointer from the left elbow, looked at the bench and shrugged.
It was just that kind of night for the Crimson Wave.
The second wild-card team and final entrant into the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference tournament, Calumet College of St. Joseph had an unreal night from 3-point range and upset host Purdue Calumet 72-50 in the single-elimination CCAC tourney opener.
“All of our 3-point shooters, they all knocked them down today,” said Cal College junior Robert Jackson, who scored a game-high 22 points.
“We came in here, and we weren’t going to let the bonehead plays beat us. Today we had determination.”
Jackson had 11 points during a 20-4 run before halftime that turned a 20-20 game into a huge win for the Crimson Wave (15-15). Jackson had 20 points by halftime and let his 3-point shooting teammates do the damage and keep the lead in double figures throughout the second half.
“Our seniors, we didn’t want to go out like that in their last game,” Jackson said. “I played to give the team a spark. I want to see them score more than me. I don’t want to be the only one open. I want to get them the ball.”
Entering the game shooting 34.3 percent from 3-point range, Cal College shot 13 for 22 (59 percent) from 3-point range and earned the right to travel to face No. 1 seed Cardinal Stritch (27-3, 19-0 CCAC) at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in a tourney quarterfinal.
“We’ve got to go into that game with the same attitude, that we don’t have anything to lose, and play our heart out,” Jackson said.
Calumet College head coach Ryan Sexson was sitting out a game after being ejected for two technical fouls in the regular-season finale. Assistant Eddie Fierek filled in for Sexson.
While the offensive sparks came from 13 made 3s against mostly zone defense, Fierek was happiest with Calumet College’s own brand of defense.
“You hold a team to 50 points in college basketball, that’s pretty impressive,” Fierek said. “We just came out and played. We executed the game plan.”
With the scored tied at 20, Cal College adjusted to stifle the Peregrines (19-11) on their home floor.
“We decided to guard,” Fierek said. “We switched up our defense a little bit, and I think that caused some confusion. Their points in the paint were bothering us early, and we decided to take them away, and that’s probably where the game turned in our favor.”
Center Kaspars Brencans had 10 points for Purdue Cal, but only two came after halftime. Noah Allen used his four steals for a team-high 11 points for PUC.
The Crimson Wave outrebounded the Peregrines 40-25.
Franqlin Gaston scored 21 point with five made 3s for Cal College, and Chris Diehl, who was 12-for-50 from downtown in the regular season, was 3-for-4 from beyond the arc Monday, including a few bombs that stifled Purdue Cal’s momentum. Brilmyer had 10 points and 10 rebounds.
“We couldn’t get any offense going,” PUC coach Dan Voudrie said. “We never got into a good rhythm. A lot of credit to Coach Sexson’s ball club for making the game physical in the lane. We didn’t finish enough shots in the lane.”
From the “It’s hard to beat any team three times in one season” files, Purdue Calumet had won the previous two meetings with the Crimson Wave, one a 36-point demolition in December and the other an 83-78 overtime win last Wednesday.
CCSJ shot 52.8 percent, and PUC, which bids farewell to three seniors, shot just 33 percent.
“When it’s going well, sometimes you can bank them in, and when it’s not, you can’t even hit the wide open shots,” Voudrie said. “It’s an unfortunate end to an outstanding season.”